iPhone Application Ideas
Posted by rbpasker on March 9, 2008
With the introduction of the iPhone SDK, people will be writing iPhone apps like crazy. There are a number of special features in the iPhone that make it the perfect platform for advanced mobile applications, so I’ve started brainstorming about what some of these apps might be.
There are three new technology features in the iPhone that I think will make the biggest difference in the kinds of applications people can build:
With previous mobile devices — such as Blackberrys, Window Mobile, and Palm — users interacted with the device via the keyboard, stylus, or scrollwheel.
Using the iPhone’s 3D accelerometers, the iPhone can sense its own orientation to the earth in 3 axis and measure how fast and in what direction the iPhone is moved.
With orientation and motion detection, users will be able interact with the device by holding or moving the iPhone in a certain way. For example, when using the iPhone’s phone function, dialing and holding the phone up to one’s ear disables the touchscreen, so that the user’s cheek doesn’t accidently interact with the screen. When the user moves the phone away from his ear, the screen is again enabled.
Continuous geographic location reporting
Even without a built-in GPS, the iPhone can approximate its geographic position by using radio waves to measure its distance to surrounding cell towers. This position reporting is accurate to within a few hundred yards, and is much less accurate then GPS, which is accurate to a dozens of feet.
Using the location services, applications can change their behavior depending on where in the world they are.
The most obvious use for this feature is for location-based services, such as maps and driving directions. But location services could also for new kinds of commerce, such as distributing discount shopping coupons to consumers who are near a particular store.
This is the unsung hero of the iPhone. This technology lets Bonjour-enabled devices interact with other Bonjour-enabled devices in the immediate area without requiring a central server. Now, two iPhones can communicate with each other directly, so long as they were within WiFi range.
This feature would allow friends or family members to find each other in a crowded mall or movie theater, or send each other files and media without using email or SMS.
Other Bonjour-enabled devices include printers and webservers, so iPhones would be able to print on local printers without configuration, or browser the websites of local merchants.
New Application Designs
Rather than putting my application ideas up here on my blog, I am hosting them on Google Sites because I want to be able to add new ones and improve them. I’m Putting each application in a separate blog post so people can comment on them individually.